Goodluck Jonathan, former Nigerian president, has denied claims by former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, that his government rejected the help of the UK government to rescue the Chibok girls after they were abducted in April 2014.
Cameron in his recently released memoir titled ”In For The Record”, Cameron claimed some British troops spotted the location of the abducted Chibok girls and offered to help in rescuing them but Jonathan refused.
““In early 2014 a group of its fighters centered the government secondary school in the village of Chibok, seizing 276 teenage girls. They were taken to camps deep in the forest. The Christians among them were forced to convert to Islam. Many were sold as slaves, entering the same endless violent nightmare the Yazidi women suffered.
“As ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaign spread across the world, we embedded a team of military and intelligence experts in Nigeria, and sent spy planes and Tornadoes with thermal imaging to search for the missing girls. And, amazingly, from the skies above a forest three times the size of Wales, we managed to locate some of them.
But Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, seemed to be asleep at the wheel. When he eventually made a statement, it was to accuse the campaigners of politicising the tragedy. And absoluely crucially, when we offered to help rescue the girls we had located, he refused.” Cameron wrote in his memory.
Reacting to the former Prime Minister’s claim, Jonathan in a statement released by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, said Cameron was a liar.
“I read the comments by former British Prime Minister, David Cameron, in his new book, For the Record, in which he accused me and the Nigerian Government, which I headed, of corruption and rejecting the help of the British Government in rescuing the Chibok Girls, who were kidnapped on April 14, 2014,” he said.
“It is quite sad that Mr. Cameron would say this because nothing of such ever occurred. As President of Nigeria, I not only wrote letters to then Prime Minister David Cameron, I also wrote to the then US President, Barrack Obama, and the then French President, François Hollande, as well as the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, appealing to them for help in rescuing the Chibok Girls.
“How could I write to appeal for help and then reject the very thing I appealed for?
“Also, history contradicts Mr. Cameron. On March 8, 2012, when the same Boko Haram linked terrorists abducted a British expatriate named Chris McManus, along with an Italian hostage Franco Lamolinara, in Sokoto, I, as Nigerian President, personally authorised a rescue effort by members of the British military Special Boat Service supported by officers and men of the Nigerian Army, to free the abducted men.
“So, having set a precedent like that, why would I reject British help in rescuing the Chibok Girls, if it was offered? I also authorised the secret deployment of troops from the United Kingdom, the United States and Israel as a result of the Chibok incident, so how Mr. Cameron could say this with a straight face beats me.
“I would urge the public to take Mr. Cameron’s accusations with a grain of salt. I will not be the first person to accuse him of lying on account of this book, and with the reactions in the UK so far, I definitely will not be the last.
Moreover, on March 8, 2017, the British Government of former Prime Minister, Theresa May, in a widely circulated press statement, debunked this allegation and said there was no truth in it after Mr. Cameron had made similar statements to the Observer of the UK.
In his book, Mr. Cameron failed to mention that I wrote him requesting his help on Chibok. Why did he suppress that information? I remind him that copies of that letter exist at the State Houses in Nigeria and London. He never called me on the phone to offer any help. On the contrary, I am the one that reached out to him.” Jonathan said in his statement